Centene And Quest Diagnostics Team Up To Increase Access To COVID-19 Testing

April 29, 2020 at 7:00 AM EDT
Company to join forces with Quest Diagnostics to expand access to COVID-19 testing at critical safety net providers across the country

ST. LOUIS, April 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Centene (NYSE: CNC) announced today a collaboration with Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), the world's leading provider of diagnostic information services, to increase access to real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) COVID-19 testing in critical areas of need across the country. Through this collaboration, Centene will facilitate the distribution of 25,000 Quest COVID-19 test kits each week to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in ten states or districts across the country.

"Testing is a critical part of containing the spread of COVID-19, and preventing future outbreaks," said Michael F. Neidorff, Chairman, President and CEO of Centene. "We need to ensure every community has access to the testing they need, especially the most vulnerable and underserved populations."

This collaboration leverages Centene's extensive network of critical safety net providers to ensure that testing capacity is routed to where it is needed most. As part of the collaboration, Centene will provide oversight and training to ensure test kits are received and processed efficiently. Distribution of kits will begin May 4th, and Quest Diagnostics will conduct the COVID-19 testing through its network of laboratories across the United States.  

"COVID-19 testing is critically needed in underserved communities and our collaboration with Centene will help ensure that necessary and life-saving diagnostic testing is available to address that need," said Steve Rusckowski, Chairman, CEO and President of Quest Diagnostics. "We are committed to serving the testing needs of Federally Qualified Health Centers during the COVID-19 pandemic."

This initiative is part of a broader set of actions that Centene is taking with key providers and stakeholders across the country to support safety net providers in addressing the pandemic.

"Gaining access to COVID-19 tests has been a challenge," says Dr. Michael W. Brooks, The Family Health Centers of Georgia's President & CEO. "This collaboration with Centene and Quest ensures we can keep fighting to make sure people are not left behind." The Family Health Centers of Georgia serves more than 29,000 patients annually; 87% of whom are African American and 32% are uninsured. Brooks continues, "We are pleased to be able to offer these additional testing opportunities to our communities."

About Centene Corporation

Centene Corporation, a Fortune 100 company, is a leading multi-national healthcare enterprise that is committed to helping people live healthier lives. The Company takes a local approach – with local brands and local teams - to provide fully integrated, high-quality, and cost-effective services to government-sponsored and commercial healthcare programs, focusing on under-insured and uninsured individuals. Centene offers affordable and high-quality products to nearly 1 in 15 individuals across the nation, including Medicaid and Medicare members (including Medicare Prescription Drug Plans) as well as individuals and families served by the Health Insurance Marketplace, the TRICARE program, and individuals in correctional facilities. The Company also serves several international markets, and contracts with other healthcare and commercial organizations to provide a variety of specialty services focused on treating the whole person. Centene focuses on long-term growth and the development of its people, systems and capabilities so that it can better serve its members, providers, local communities, and government partners.

Centene uses its investor relations website to publish important information about the company, including information that may be deemed material to investors. Financial and other information about Centene is routinely posted and is accessible on Centene's investor relations website, http://www.centene.com/investors.

About Quest Diagnostics

Quest Diagnostics empowers people to take action to improve health outcomes.  Derived from the world's largest database of clinical lab results, our diagnostic insights reveal new avenues to identify and treat disease, inspire healthy behaviors and improve health care management.  Quest annually serves one in three adult Americans and half the physicians and hospitals in the United States, and our 47,000 employees understand that, in the right hands and with the right context, our diagnostic insights can inspire actions that transform lives. www.QuestDiagnostics.com.

About COVID-19 Testing by Quest Diagnostics

Quest Diagnostics is at the forefront of response to the COVID-19 pandemic, working to broaden access to laboratory insights to help us all lead healthier lives. We provide both molecular diagnostic and antibody serology tests to aiding the diagnosis of COVID-19 and immune response. Our COVID-19 test services are based on tests that have received or are expected to receive FDA emergency use authorization and which also meet our high standards for quality. We provide data on COVID-19 testing to various federal and state public health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and participate in studies with government and private institutions, aiding COVID-19 public health response and research. Through our team of dedicated phlebotomists, couriers, air fleet team, and laboratory professionals, Quest Diagnostics won't stop until quality testing is broadly available to patients and communities across the United States. 

For more information about the latest developments with our COVID-19 testing, visit: newsroom.questdiagnostics.com/COVIDTestingUpdates

Forward-Looking Statements

All statements, other than statements of current or historical fact, contained in this press release are forward-looking statements. Without limiting the foregoing, forward-looking statements often use words such as "believe," "anticipate," "plan," "expect," "estimate," "intend," "seek," "target," "goal," "may," "will," "would," "could," "should," "can," "continue" and other similar words or expressions (and the negative thereof). Centene (the Company, our, or we) intends such forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe-harbor provisions for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and we are including this statement for purposes of complying with these safe-harbor provisions. In particular, these statements include, without limitation, statements about our future operating or financial performance, market opportunity, growth strategy, competition, expected activities in completed and future acquisitions, including statements about the impact of our recently completed acquisition (the WellCare Acquisition) of WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (WellCare), other recent and future acquisitions, investments and the adequacy of our available cash resources. These forward-looking statements reflect our current views with respect to future events and are based on numerous assumptions and assessments made by us in light of our experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions, business strategies, operating environments, future developments and other factors we believe appropriate. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties and are subject to change because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that will occur in the future, including economic, regulatory, competitive and other factors that may cause our or our industry's actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions. All forward-looking statements included in this press release are based on information available to us on the date hereof. Except as may be otherwise required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise the forward-looking statements included in this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date hereof. You should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, as actual results may differ materially from projections, estimates, or other forward-looking statements due to a variety of important factors, variables and events including but not limited to: the impact of COVID-19 on global markets, economic conditions and the healthcare industry and our results of operations, which is unknown, uncertainty as to our expected financial performance following completion of the WellCare Acquisition; the possibility that the expected synergies and value creation from the WellCare Acquisition will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period; the risk that unexpected costs will be incurred in connection with the integration of the WellCare Acquisition or that the integration of WellCare will be more difficult or time consuming than expected; unexpected costs, charges or expenses resulting from the WellCare Acquisition; the inability to retain key personnel; disruption from the completion of the WellCare Acquisition, including potential adverse reactions or changes to business relationships with customers, employees, suppliers or regulators, making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships; the risk that, following the WellCare Acquisition, we may not be able to effectively manage our expanded operations; our ability to accurately predict and effectively manage health benefits and other operating expenses and reserves; competition; membership and revenue declines or unexpected trends; changes in healthcare practices, new technologies, and advances in medicine; increased healthcare costs; changes in economic, political or market conditions; changes in federal or state laws or regulations, including changes with respect to income tax reform or government healthcare programs as well as changes with respect to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act, collectively referred to as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and any regulations enacted thereunder that may result from changing political conditions or judicial actions, including the ultimate outcome in "Texas v. United States of America" regarding the constitutionality of the ACA; rate cuts or other payment reductions or delays by governmental payors and other risks and uncertainties affecting our government businesses; our ability to adequately price products on the Health Insurance Marketplaces and other commercial and Medicare products; tax matters; disasters or major epidemics; the outcome of legal and regulatory proceedings; changes in expected contract start dates; provider, state, federal and other contract changes and timing of regulatory approval of contracts; the expiration, suspension, or termination of our contracts with federal or state governments (including but not limited to Medicaid, Medicare, TRICARE or other customers); the difficulty of predicting the timing or outcome of pending or future litigation or government investigations; challenges to our contract awards; cyber-attacks or other privacy or data security incidents;the possibility that the expected synergies and value creation from acquired businesses, including, without limitation, the WellCare Acquisition, will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period; the exertion of management's time and our resources, and other expenses incurred and business changes required in connection with complying with the undertakings in connection with any regulatory, governmental or third party consents or approvals for acquisitions; disruption caused by significant completed and pending acquisitions, including, among others, the WellCare Acquisition, making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships; the risk that unexpected costs will be incurred in connection with the completion and/or integration of acquisition transactions; changes in expected closing dates, estimated purchase price and accretion for acquisitions; the risk that acquired businesses, including WellCare, will not be integrated successfully; the risk that we may not be able to effectively manage our operations as they have expanded as a result of the WellCare Acquisition; restrictions and limitations in connection with our indebtedness; our ability to maintain or achieve improvement in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Star ratings and maintain or achieve improvement in other quality scores in each case that can impact revenue and future growth; availability of debt and equity financing, on terms that are favorable to us; inflation; foreign currency fluctuations; and risks and uncertainties discussed in the reports that Centene has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. This list of important factors is not intended to be exhaustive. We discuss certain of these matters more fully, as well as certain other factors that may affect our business operations, financial condition and results of operations, in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K. Due to these important factors and risks, we cannot give assurances with respect to our future performance, including without limitation our ability to maintain adequate premium levels or our ability to control our future medical and selling, general and administrative costs.

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SOURCE Centene Corporation

Media, Marcela Manjarrez-Hawn, (314) 445-0790, mediainquiries@centene.com, or Investors: Jennifer Gilligan, (212) 549-1306, investors@centene.com